SISA gives international students a home away from home


whole group of Sheridan International Student Association at HMC campus

Sheridan International Student Association members gather at HMC.


Using hope, encouragement, dedication and love for each other, the Sheridan International Student Association (SISA) wants to make the college more like a home for students from other nations.

“SISA started with 15 members in late December 2013 at Sheridan HMC campus, and now has 30 active members,” says Prachi Salunkhe, 29, vice-president of recruitment at SISA. “It is possible because of the efforts made by international students and the club founder Odecca Ordonez, who is also the peer mentor of us.”

After the successful launching of SISA, members started to set goals for the following year and discussing events they wanted.

“Our first event was the potluck, which was held on Feb. 5 and we had around 50 participants at the event,” says Salunkhe. “ We had many events after the potluck. We had filing taxes, places to go around Canada and the sports bash. Basically we have events on every Friday.”

SISA has eight executive members and 30 active members along with the president, who performs various roles for international students.

“We have a treasurer, event manager, human resources, public relations, secretary, executive assistant and many members,” says Gurmeet Kaur, 26, a member of SISA.

“We have students from many countries so our job is to make them comfort in SISA.”

The International Centre supports SISA events and approves its events.

“The International Centre is our backbone. It is not only gives us tips about the events but really helps us to make every event successful,” says Kaur.

SISA is the place, where students not only take part in events and general meetings but also learn about other international students’ culture.

Shwetha Mohan, 27, an international student from India and a member of SISA, says, “Being an Indian, I have a lot of cultural diversity in India and I am always eager to learn about different countries cultures and things.

“Everyone loves the food and when I became a part of SISA, I actually started taking interest in many countries’ food. I just got the curiosity to learn about them, and I believe food really brought us together,” says Mohan.

“We all live away from home and when we come in the events of SISA, the one common thing we all felt is the feeling like home” she added.

SISA also gives students the opportunity to show their hidden talents and many who used to be shy now feel more confident after joining the club.

“I was very shy and introverted before but since I joined SISA, I felt very confident and the best part is I started doing good presentations in my classes,” says Chandni Bhatia, 22, from Dubai. “The best thing about SISA is, you can’t just come here and sit, you have to take part in activities and that’s how I built confidence in myself.”

Jitesh Thakur, 27, from India, describes the international night event when he danced for the first time.

“I never thought that I could dance so well,” says Thakur. “At the international night event, me and my friends did a group dance of some Bollywood numbers and it was really an amazing experience for all of us.”

“This is the place that helped me to have wonderful friends from different countries. We all are like family,”he added.

SISA also provides an opportunity to international students to boost their Co-Curricular Records (CCR) as well.

“I joined SISA to make my CCR record better,” says Fernanda Guimaraes, 27, from Brazil.

Guimaraes explains that the events help improve her CCR, while the enthusiasm of club members make the experience very enjoyable.

SISA has a plan to expand the club to all three Sheridan campuses to attract more international students.

“We are doing really good and making serious efforts to make this club the best for the student experience in Sheridan. It is all about the strong environment we create to boost personal growth and fulfilling their full potential,” says Andrii Sadlak, 23, president of SISA. “We all have got inspiration to make the club more effective, when Sheridan President Jeff Zabudsky tweeted about SISA after attending an international night event.

“This is our home, not the one which was built by the bricks and woods but the one built by emotions, efforts, hope and love.”